There are two different types of rental relationships created when a person moves into a rental unit that is already occupied. One type of relationship is a roommate relationship. That is where a new person moves into a rental property and the tenants already living there have a verbal or written agreement with the landlord.
Another type of relationship is known as a master-tenant and subtenant relationship. That is where the new person has a verbal or written agreement created directly with the tenants who are already occupying the unit, not with the landlord.
At the Law Offices of James Coy Driscoll, our San Francisco lawyer can help assess what rights you have in a roommate or subtenant eviction situation. As soon as you are aware of a potential issue, the sooner we can start protecting your rights.
When Roommates Run Into Issues
When two or more people live in the same rental unit and have a rental relationship directly with the landlord, they are considered to be roommates and have equal rights to live in the unit. This is true even when one person has occupied the unit for a longer period of time than the other person.
One roommate cannot evict other roommates. If there is a problem, only the landlord can legally evict one or more roommates. But as a tenant, you still have rights under state and local law. Our law firm can help you protect those rights.
What About Subleases?
A master-tenant in a sublet situation has the same obligations to a roommate that a landlord does to his or her tenants, including rights granted under local rent control housing ordinances.
In San Francisco, in units that rent controlled, a master-tenant must provide written notice to a subtenant before the subtenant moves in of:
• The total amount of rent paid to the landlord by the master-tenant
• Notice that the just cause provisions of the local rent ordinance do apply to the sublease
If the master-tenant fails to give these notices, he or she may be unable to evict the subtenant, except for one of the reasons set out in the rent ordinance. Therefore, if you signed a sublease and have been served with an eviction notice, you should seek legal advice right away so we can help you evaluate your situation and your options.
In addition, there may be restrictions in a tenant's lease or rental agreement when it comes to subletting of the unit. It is always important to review the terms of a lease and to speak with an attorney if there are any questions.
For more information about subtenant evictions, roommate evictions or any other landlord-tenant problems you may have, contact us online or call (415) 523-5591. We can help protect your rights in all types of eviction proceedings.